Girl ‘pretended to be dead’

2009-08-05 00:00

A YOUNG Pietermaritzburg woman described yesterday how she pretended to be dead after two men took turns to rape her on a gravel road in October 2007, then reversed their car into her “three or four times”, while she was lying on the ground, causing the rear wheels to “spin” against her body.

She lapsed into unconsciousness and lay there till daylight when people found her and got her to hospital. She testified that it had been raining and was still drizzling when the attackers tried to run her over. Asked if the car tyres went right over her, she said they did not, but the vehicle “pushed” her as the wheels “skidded” against her stomach.

She said she earlier pleaded with her attackers not to kill her.

The woman, who was a 17-year-old pupil at a private school when the incident happened, said as they drove off she heard the rapists say “the slut has died”.

She was giving evidence yesterday at the trial of Sibusiso Derrick Duma (24), who has pleaded not guilty to multiple offences, including rape and attempted murder of the teenager at Azalea Cemetery on October 19, 2007.

Duma is also charged with the attempted murder of two young men who were with the girl when they were accosted shortly after midnight, and later shot and wounded, allegedly by Duma. One of them, a 19-year-old pupil, yesterday told the court he still has a bullet lodged in his shoulder as a reminder of the attack.

Acting Judge Kobus Booyens, sitting with two assessors, cleared the public gallery yesterday when the young rape survivor gave evidence, but members of the press were allowed to remain with her consent. Her mother was in court to support her.

Recalling how she and her two male friends were accosted by the assailants in a maroon VW Polo as they stood waiting for a lift at the roadside, the young woman started to cry. She asked the court for time to compose herself and the court adjourned. Afte­r it reconvened, she managed to finish describing her ordeal without wavering.

The next time she cried was when the judge asked her how the incident has affected her. “I did have nightmares. But the most difficult part is that I am having problems mixing with people,” she said, wiping her eyes with a handkerchief.

“I’m so scared to be around people,” she said.

The young woman, who is studying, said she does not go to nightclubs or parties. “We usually stay at home,” she said.

She was hospitalised in intensive care for two weeks after the incident and in a general ward for three weeks. She suffered from pneumonia and severe fractures, including a fractured thigh, leg and shoulder.

She said she preferred not to show her injuries in court, but for a doctor to testify about them.

The woman said the ordeal started when the Polo stopped next to her and her friends and the driver pointed a gun at them. They were “loaded” into the car at gunpoint.

She said they drove to Unit 18 in Imbali. On two separate occasions the driver stopped, pulled her male companions out of the car one at a time and shot them. She did not see what happened to them.

They then drove for a “longer distance” with her until they reached an “open space” where there was a gravel road and some houses further down. En route they inquired about her “bank balance” and she told them she had R50 in an account.

The young woman said the assailants also swore at her, calling her a “slut”.

“They said that was the reason I was there,” she said.

She said she was made to lie half naked behind the vehicle. The driver raped her first and then called the passenger. After he finished raping her too and got back into the car, they reversed backwards and forwards into her.

“At that stage I had lifted up my head and I was still alive … I wanted to shout for help. I placed my head down and pretended to be dead,” she said. The attackers then drove away.

The case is proceeding.

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